Mozart started composing at age 5.
A child prodigy or Wunderkind is a person who, at an early age, develops one or more skills at a level far beyond the norm for their age. A prodigy has to be a child, or at least younger than 18 years, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding field of endeavour.
The giftedness of prodigies is determined by the degree of their talent relative to their ages. Examples of particularly extreme prodigies could include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Teresa Milanollo in music, Bobby Fischer, Judith Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, Sergey Karjakin, Paul Morphy and José Capablanca in chess, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Shakuntala Devi, Srinivasa Ramanujan, John von Neumann and Terence Tao in mathematics, Pablo Picasso and Wang Ximeng in art, and Saul Kripke in philosophy. There is controversy as to at what age and standard to use in the definition of a prodigy
There is much speculation surrounding the origins and manifestation of precocity in linguistics, mathematics and artistic capabilities of child prodigies. What is certain is that these capabilities could not have surfaced in human consciousness out of a vacuum. It seems obvious to me that the exhibition of early genius has to be the latent potential of accumulated ancestral training in the past, and stored genetically in the DNA. If that is indeed true, this would mean that ancestral intellectual talents and not just physical traits and characteristics are carried forward genetically. Therefore it is more than possible that all of us have the same inherited store of potential genius.
So the question then is: How and why does it manifest in just a few individuals and not in the rest of us?
The answer may be found in the research done by neurologist, Professor Roger Sperry during his work in split brain dissections. He and other researchers at UCLA have discovered that the left and right sides of the cerebral cortex function via two separate modes of perception. The left brain is analytical. The right brain is intuitive. Work done by Dr. Betty Edwards, professor of Art as UCLA has revealed that if the analytical side of the brain is tricked into shutting down, her students who exhibited no signs of previous artistic ability, suddenly all of them, without exception, produced masterful works. Sperry has argued that science in general and our school system, which concentrates almost exclusively on analytical left brain training, is discriminating against the intuitive artistic genius of the right brain.
Intrigued by this research, I took my children out of state schools and began to train them at home via a system of dual brain stimulation that I designed myself. The key element in my program was to put a halt to any training in script-based instruction until puberty. All instruction was oral-based. My reason behind this radical step, where professional educators have insisted that mastering early literacy is the key to intellectual genius, is that a compulsory system that forces a child with both sides of its developing brain still only half the capacity of an adult, to concentrate analytically for hours every day on mechanics of grammar and syntax, and blackboard mathematics, shuts down the intuitive input of the right brain. This leaves iteracy compositions and mathematical computations devoid of the originality of creative input
Proof of my home-spun, home-school experiment is that my children took to the internet themselves at puberty and without any help from me mastered all high school textbook subjects. With barely an hour of study a day, within three years after puberty, each one and passed the State examinations among the top percentage in the nation.
Below is a masterful essay that could be presented as a term paper by any university student, written by one of my daughters, at age 13, just three months after she first taught herself to read and write
By Zarina Pringle
A bleak time it is… winter, all plant life deserts its summer lushness for a harsh but equal beauty I walk through a forest of the slender naked limbs of tall trees draped in the white silk vale of powdery snow which so reminds me of a deserted home covered in dust sheets until summer’s sun shines again. My long draped cloak swirls and whips in the frigid silver wind that is winter’s howl It is the chirp of birds the scurrying of mice the goodbye song to summers warmth.
Suddenly the prowl of a wolf takes command of the atmosphere And in a shuffle of feet and a spray of snow, the blood of a stag stains the stark snow. I crouch in a thicket and watch fearfully as the event unravels. The white stag has given himself up to nature’s wrath, his neck clutched tightly in the wolf’s vice-like jaw. His dead black eyes stare into mine through the thicket as the wolf proclaims his victory by taking the first bite. The pack moves in to taste the meat of victory.
They do not smell me yet, but still fear bites into me sharper than any fang as I watch the gory spectacle. I find myself both repulsed and yet strangely envious of their power over the wood. I try to remain calm but I realize that I âm holding my breath, I bite down on my lip and clutch my fists to keep from trembling, and I assure myself that the smell of the stag over powers my own, and that they will take what is remaining of the carcass and leave.
Soon enough they do leave, back the way they had come, like a harsh grey wind with fur and fangs, all but one. It is a female by the looks of it, she seamed reluctant to follow the others. Her icy blue eyes scanned the area sending chills up my spine; they passed over the thicket in witch I remained hidden amongst the rotted leaves and soft snow. My heart pounded so hard I was half afraid she would hear it. Panic surged through my entire body; I knew that if she found me she would signal her pack, I would not stand a chance, I would be torn from limb to limb and end up in the stomach of a pack of the notoriously vicious grey wolves.
After a minute of waiting there, scarcely breathing for fear of being heard, I tilted my head slightly upward to see if she had gone, but to my utter horror she remained, and worse still her eyes locked with mine, in that one instant in witch a looked up, at that moment I knew she had discovered me. I knew I could not stay there and wait for her to come to me like a paralyzed rabbit, if my life was destined to end this way, I would not wait for my end to come to me but rather go to it instead. Against my rational judgement and with my fists clutched in determination and my mind clear in resolve, I rushed out of my hiding place, brambles scratching my face and arms, and there I stood, out in the open, the rest of the world seamed to evaporate around me, all that existed was myself the wood and that wolf.
I forced myself to look her dead in the eye, well aware that this is the opposite of what one should normally do when faced with a wolf as this is a sign that you are challenging them, but I looked on in defiance, pouring into her with all my might all the strength and will that I had collected throughout every hardship in my life willing her to leave. She did not move at first, nor did I, we only gazed at one another, both of use waiting for the other to falter. I had been taught that wolves were of a lesser race than humans, but I knew then that in reality it was quite the contrary, I could see in her sapphire eyes that she was a wise soul, and that she was testing me as her equal. And I refused to bend.
Finely she bared her teeth, ivory and as sharp as blades. Her face twisted in a snarl, wrinkling her blood stained muzzle. It was without a doubt an intimidating form, but still I would not flinch. And all at once the fierceness faded from her face, and I could have sworn on my mother’s life that I saw her give a curt nod of respect and recognition just before she turned and disappeared into the snow clad forest.